Dark Apparition - Bourbon Barrel-Aged - Vanilla & Coffee Beans
Jackie O's Pub & Brewery

Dark Apparition - Bourbon Barrel-Aged - Vanilla & Coffee BeansDark Apparition - Bourbon Barrel-Aged - Vanilla & Coffee Beans
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Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #40
Ranked #668
4.37 | pDev: 10.07%
Jackie O's Pub & Brewery
Ohio, United States
Dark Apparition - Bourbon Barrel-Aged - Vanilla & Coffee BeansDark Apparition - Bourbon Barrel-Aged - Vanilla & Coffee Beans
Notes: This special batch was aged in bourbon barrels and conditioned on vanilla beans and whole coffee beans. A truly decadent brew that is intended to be poured into your favorite snifter and given time to warm up from it's dark and cool resting place.

30 IBU
Reviews: 55 | Ratings: 249 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

4.07/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

$ 21.49 (Including shipping)/12.7 oz bottle ($ 1.69/oz). Received 5/30/20 from Craftshack, San Diego, CA. Reviewed 6/5/20.
Undated bottle. Stored at home at 42 degrees and served at 60 degrees in a hand washed and dried Jester King snifter.
Appearance – 3.25.
First pour – Brown (SRM 20), slight haze.
Body – Deep Brown (SRM 40), opaque. When held to direct light, same.
Head – Small (Maximum 1.5 cm, aggressive center pour), brown, fizzy, high density, short retention, quickly gone leaving one small area of bubbles fed by a thin stream of effervescence. This tiny stream lasts almost the entire drinking time.
Lacing – None, as expected for a 12.8% ABV coffee brew.
Aroma – 4.25 – Initially sweet and roasted caramel malty, overlapped by a burst of bitter coffee, a bit of bourbon, no vanilla, no yeast, no hops.
Flavor – 4.25 – Slightly sweet, mild coffee, mild bourbon, no vanilla, no hops, no yeast. No alcohol (12.8% ABV, as marked on the label) taste or aroma. No diacetyl or dimethylsulfide.
Palate – 3.5 – Medium, slightly creamy, soft lively carbonation.
Final impression and summation – 4 (Minus 0.25 point for undated personal container) Palate seems a bit light for an alleged Russian Imperial Stout. Flavors are mild and easy to swallow – so mild it is hard to justify the price point. Oddly enough, no gastric warming. Looks like most RIS on the market. I’m disappointed.

Today at 12:38 PM
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mkh012 from Colorado

4.3/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2020 vintage.

Pours near-black with a thin tan head.

The nose is vanilla, brown sugar, chocolate, and mild soy sauce.

The taste is chocolate, coffee, vanilla, cherry, and bourbon. Very mild boozy heat.

The mouthfeel is medium+ with subtle drying oak.

Overall, very good. Refined. The coffee, vanilla, and bourbon barrel meld seamlessly with the base.

May 24, 2020
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REVZEB from Illinois

4.42/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black, no head. French roast coffee, lush vanilla, bourbon, caramel, dark chocolate, wood, and walnut in the nose. Taste sees the depth of these flavors add dimensions: heat and coolness, roast and creaminess, smooth and sharp, roast and earth. Goes down dangerously easy, viscous, boozy, creamy, and somewhat syrupy. The wife liked it

Apr 16, 2020
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Damian from Massachusetts

4.49/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 12.7 fl. oz. bottle purchased at Fort Point Market, Boston, MA
Served in a snifter

Dark brown bordering on black appearance. Slightly thin in body for the style. The beer was capped by a small, frothy, saddle brown head that quickly broke apart. A thin collar encircled the liquid. Dots of lacing stuck along the glass.

Outstanding aroma. Vanilla notes came through big time. Fresh vanilla bean to be specific. Rich and malty. Touch of roastiness. Bourbon/barrel notes were also apparent. Some brown sugar sweetness too. The vanilla really intensified as the beer warmed, as did the bourbon and brown sugar. Semisweet chocolate was also noticeable.

The flavor profile was similar to the nose. Malty and rich. Big dark malt presence. Slightly roasty. Loads of fresh, high quality vanilla extract or vanilla bean. Boozy bourbon notes and cocoa powder kicked in mid palate. Some brown sugar sweetness came through here as well. More roast on the back end and the finish. Boozy/bourbon notes and brown sugar lingered after the swallow.

Interesting mouthfeel. Somewhat lighter in body for the style. The beer contained a moderate, larger bubbled effervescence that initially felt a bit prickly. With time, the carbonation settled and the liquid turned frothy and smooth.

Although the coffee was nowhere to be found in this beer, the vanilla and bourbon notes were kickin’. Give this one plenty of time to open up, and it turns into something pretty amazing.

Mar 26, 2020
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LongTaco15 from Illinois

4.17/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

No head what so ever. Not even a hiss at opening.
Vanilla, chocolate, and oak on the nose.
Tastes pretty good. Vanilla, bitter chocolate, oak and bourbon. Coffee is in there somewhere.
Syrupy mouthfeel. Wish it had a little carbonation.
Overall, really solid and glad I bought one.

Feb 29, 2020
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Brutaltruth from Ohio

4.41/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the 12.7 oz bottle in a snifter. This luxurious beast
pours a rich obsidian with a thin head of off white foam
that subsides to a thin ring. Nose of moderate coffee,
nice vanilla bean, dark fudge, rich bourbon, char, and oak.
Flavors pack it in with dark semisweet fudge, dark brown sugars,
char, dark coffee, vanilla bean, moderate char, and rich
boozy bourbon with oak. Excellent mouth feel; full body,
smooth as satin, rich, light carbonation, warming, coating,
and finishing medium high on the sweet scale and subtly dry
from the warming booze.

Overall----WOW---another winner from a fantastic little brewery!


Feb 21, 2020
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

4.09/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Released 1/10/20; drank 2/2/20 @ the Yarchives.

Black appearance.

An even pour yielded a small dark tan head; frothy lace.

Vanilla, chocolate syrup & caramel notes in the nose.

Creamy, thick mouthfeel.

Chocolate syrup, vanilla, oak & faint bourbon notes in the nose.

Sweet & a bit syrup-y on the flavorings, but overall a good quaff. I'd have another.

Feb 03, 2020
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SABERG from Massachusetts

4.26/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 2018 bottle into the test glass,
A - Dark and mysterious, bakers chocolate color, gently poured yields a thin mocha cap.
S - Faint bourbon, vanilla, dark roast coffee, a touch of blackberry, shade tobacco, cocoa, roast nuts.
T - Complex, but follows the nose well, add toffee, and burnt brown sugar.
M - Body is medium to thin, slick on the palate without cloying, sweet start runs the table, excellent linger
O - I will be finding more, this is an outstanding stout from a talented team

Aug 18, 2019
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jrc1093 from Connecticut

4.01/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2019 Bottling

Pours a thinner, neutral black body topped with ½ finger of soft caramel froth, almost immediately receding to a small but consistent dense, foamy collar and a thin, sparse webbing of short-lived lacing.

Aromas of sweet, roasty tones dominate from the start; brownie batter, toasty fudge, burnt caramel, and topped with a fervent edge of deep roasted coffee; vanilla and bourbon in the background, with some fleeting notes of dark cherry offering the occasional dark fruit impression.

Taste is big with dark chocolate and bits of smoked toffee upfront; heavily roasted coffee, light bourbon and even lighter dark cherry expand on the profile, especially the mid-palate; smooth roasty coffee bean and vanilla cream pop through a finish with an expressiveness as when it first hit the tongue.

Mouthfeel brings a body on the lighter end of medium with medium carbonation; slick to start, but becomes fairly roasty rather quickly and stays that way, which adds a hefty but balanced grit gliding along the palate; thins slowly through the finish, but the active, roasty tones keep the body interesting on the palate.

Big flavor brought back a bit by a mouthfeel just a tad too thin; the coffee and vanilla bean additions add a clever, rounded depth to the profile (compared with the regular BBA Dark Apparition) and leave plenty of engaging flavor, but simply lacks the fuller body to back it all up.

May 02, 2019
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Thomas_Wikman from Texas

4.57/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Bourbon Barrel Dark Apparition with Vanilla & Coffee Bean is the best Dark Apparition in my opinion. Full of flavor, strong, alcohol well hidden, heavy and yet quite drinkable

Look: jet black with a thin mocca colored head

Aroma: nice chocolate and bourbon aroma

Flavor: It's roasted malts, vanilla, chocolate, coffee, and bourbon, alcohol hidden. A little bit sweet but not too much.

Feel: full bodied, silky

Mar 19, 2019
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Holderness from Massachusetts

4.42/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L -- Black body with a small light brown head produced with moderate pour. Small ring of retention and minimal lacing
S -- Lots of vanilla and bourbon. Also getting oak, dark chocolate, maple, coffee, nougat
T -- Vanilla carries over strong in the flavors, which integrates very nicely with the bittersweet chocolate from the malts and the fairly aggressive bourbon barrel character. Less charred bitterness than the regular BBA Apparition. Not really getting any coffee
F -- Big mouthfeel, minimal silky carb. Semi-sweet and well-rounded
O -- Another pricey but tasty BBA stout from Jackie O's. The vanilla really brings things together here


Mar 05, 2019
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ONUMello from Ohio

4.34/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2017 edition poured into a snifter
A: Pitch black, very thin head
S: Coffee, vanilla, bourbon, chocolate
T: Same notes as the nose, adds some butterscotch and caramel
M: Full-bodied, smooth
O: As always a quality RIS from Jackie O’s

Mar 03, 2019
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StoutElk_92 from Massachusetts

4.8/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours black with a creamy light khaki colored foam head. Smells absolutely delicious with some sweet sugary almost maple notes, rich smooth bourbon, fresh creamy vanilla, roasted coffee, with oak barrel notes surrounding the dark chocolate, dark molasses and caramely structure. Roasted nut notes are nuanced in there, almost peanut buttery at times, almost buttery toffee, sweet brittle, pancakes, graham crackery, with minute dark fruit notes. This truly smells stupendous to me right now from the bottle in a glass. The taste is pretty exquisite, with lots of rich flavors coming at you at once, dark fruits, bracing coffee, fresh creamy vanilla, rich bourbon oak barrel, dark chocolate, dark molasses, caramel, toffee, dark raisin, dark toasted nutty malts, some maple sugar, brown bread, with earthy herbal hop notes balancing. Feels medium bodied, creamy slick with moderate smooth carbonation. Overall a real nice bourbon barrel aged Russian imperial stout conditioned on vanilla and coffee beans.

Feb 26, 2019
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Tony210 from New Jersey

2.46/5  rDev -43.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I have had the original version before and loved it. This bottle is infected. It is very sour and it shouldn't be. Sucks.
Update; I contacted the brewery - they were aware of the infection issue and issued a recall in the spring.

12.7 oz bottle, 2018 bottle date
2 rating

Oct 10, 2018
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Rristow from Ohio

4.8/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

The hauntingly good brew in your hand is rife with dark complexities. Seven malts were used to create deep flavors of coffee, chocolate, caramel, and molasses. A hint of bitterness and herbal character from carefully selected European and American hops help support the monolithic maltiness. This special batch was aged in bourbon barrels and conditioned on vanilla beans and whole coffee beans. A truly decadent brew that is intended to be poured into your favorite snifter and given time to warm up from its dark and cool resting place.

Mar 21, 2018
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brentk56 from North Carolina

4.06/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours espresso colored with a rather thin tan had that fades to a ringlet; leggy, with spots of lacing dribbling down

Smell: Bourbon, chocolate, vanilla and walnut; just a hint of coffee

Taste: The Bourbon rocks the front end, with chocolate, vanilla, walnut and coffee tones building, through the middle; the Bourbon builds, after the swallow, and the finish is filled with caramel and brown sugar sweetness

Mouthfeel: Full boded with low to moderate carbonation; warmth in the gullet

Overall: This is the 2017 bottling - I tasted it side by side with the 2015 non-barrel version; perhaps this one needs a similar amount of time to settle down but I found this to be too hot and sweet, with the Bourbon mis-placed (I like the Bourbon in the back of the palate, not in the forefront); still, worthy beer, just didn't compare as well as I had hoped

Thanks, N-Gogol, for the opportunity

Feb 11, 2018
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Furlinator from California

4.14/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Vintage 2016. Cosumed on 10/10/17.
Coffee, cocoa and smoky oak on the nose. The taste is dominated by an odd apple sweetness with notes of coffee and cocoa. No vanilla to speak of. This one may be past its prime.

Update: Enjoyed a vintage 2017 bottle on 10/14/17. This one had much more prevalent coffee, chocolate and vanilla flavors with much less fruit accents. I changed my rating accordingly.

Oct 10, 2017
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Harrison8 from Missouri

4.26/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a few millimeters of caramel-creme colored fizzy-foam on top. Head retention is just okay, with no lacing left behind. Aroma is vanilla bean, robust coffee, roasted malts, bourbon, oak, caramel, toffee, and molasses. Despite having a lot of sugary notes listed, it doesn't come off as overly sweet, nor is it big and boozy. Flavor profile has more of the bourbon on the front end, but not a boozy amount. Vanilla bean, coffee, roasted malts, oak, and toffee occupy the remainder of the filling, but balanced flavor profile. Mouth feel is smooth, with a feel that leans towards creamy and velvety, but falls slightly short in terms of robustness. Overall, a well crafted stout that offers up a lot of complexity, without sacrificing drinkability. At 11.5%, it starts hitting the higher end of the ABV spectrum, and yet remains completely approachable.

Served in a 12oz snifter from a 12.7oz bottle.

Jul 25, 2017
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VeganUndead from Virginia

3.72/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I think this needed about 2 more weeks in a barrel to soften a little bit of the bourbon flavor, and bring in a bit more oak and vanilla, and then this bottle needs about 3 months of aging because holy crap it is hot. Great, but doesn't measure up to Oil of Aphrodite

Jul 10, 2017
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bgold86 from New York

4.75/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Popped two 2016 bottles, both displayed huge sour notes and not one of the beer's noted flavors. Totally disgusting, no doubt this batch is horribly infected (unfortunately).

Wish there was the option not to rate this as previous versions I'm sure were delicious, but the infection needs to be noted.

Update: 2017 version is spectacular!

Apr 21, 2017
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Alieniloquium from Florida

4.1/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375 mL bottle. Black body. Smells of sharp coffee, bourbon, oak, and vanilla. Tastes much smoother. Nice chocolate and vanilla. Bourbon is probably the harshest flavor. Rich coffee. Medium heavy. Soft carbonation. Rich, kinda sweet, but nicely balanced by the coffee. Excellent.

Apr 18, 2017
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bluejacket74 from Ohio

4.24/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12.7 ounce bottle, 2017 vintage. Served in a Jackie O's snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about a half inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good enough. Aroma is mostly sweet, it smells mostly like vanilla and bourbon, along with some coffee, roasted malt and molasses. Taste is similar to the aroma, but with the addition of some bittersweet chocolate, caramel and woodiness. It's a sweeter tasting imperial stout. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's slick and smooth, and is also well carbonated (but not too much). I thought it was a good enough brew. Not my favorite from them but it's Jackie O's so you know it's going to be good. Certainly worth picking up if you come across a bottle!

Mar 17, 2017
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stephenjmoore from Maryland

4.33/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a medium to dark brown with a thin, soapy, mocha-colored head. Aroma is big sweet vanilla and bourbon with some notes of coffee. Flavor is roasty and sweet up front, with vanilla coffee in the middle and a lingering bourbon finish. Not particularly boozy and the flavors combine well together. Feel is silky smooth, slick, medium carbonation, especially on the finish. A really nice take on an already great stout.

Mar 03, 2017
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Treyliff from West Virginia

4/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

2017 vintage
375ml bottle poured into a JO's snifter

A- pours deep black in color with a thin foamy khaki colored head that reduces to a ring around the edge of the glass, leaving a few spots of lace

S- aroma opens with a nice mix of dark chocolate, caramel, toffee, and molasses. Notes of bourbon barrel follow, giving aromas of spicy wood. Sweet vanilla and herbal/earthy coffee close it out

T- bourbon-forward up front with plenty of barrel notes; bourbon, woody oak, caramel, hint of coconut. Mid-palate gives sweet notes of chocolate, molasses and vanilla cream. The finish is slightly nutty, with a linger of herbal coffee and bourbon

M- medium body with moderate carbonation leads to a slightly foamy mouthfeel that finishes a bit thin

O- all of the ingredients mesh nicely but nothing really stood out, still very tasty

Feb 27, 2017
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rypkr from Pennsylvania

3.74/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Looks thin.

Docked on smell because it smells identical to regular bb dark app. No extra vanilla or coffee. Maybe even weaker barrel on the nose.

Taste is incredibly rich. All dark fruit and molassess. I find vanilla but not necessarily any more than regular BBDA. I do taste a faint mocha on the finish. Overall this is MUCH sweeter than I remember BBDA being. This is along the lines of bcbs sweetness. The barrel isn't very prominent which is sad because that's jackie o's signature talent they're usually best at.

Feel is sticky and fizzy.

Overall. It's a sugar bomb. I won't revisit this.

Feb 25, 2017
Dark Apparition - Bourbon Barrel-Aged - Vanilla & Coffee Beans from Jackie O's Pub & Brewery
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 249 ratings